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Showing posts from December 1, 2016

Delhi HC sets aside ban on 344 combination drugs( thehindu)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the Centre’s ban on 344 fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs, including Corex cough syrup and Vicks Action 500 extra, saying the decision was taken in a “haphazard manner” without consulting the statutory bodies as mandated under the law.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which gives the power to stop manufacture of drugs and cosmetics in public interest, does not vest the government with carte blanche to regulate, restrict or prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of a drug. The court said the “power of regulation, restriction or prohibition under Section 26A cannot be exercised in public interest, for any reason other than the drug posing a risk to consumers thereof or having no therapeutic value or no therapeutic justification.” These aspects should be considered by the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Drug Consultative Committee (DCC), a process which was not done.

It said the Marc…

Court orders criminal cases against HIMS director, 5 others (the hindu )

A Hassan JMFC court has ordered registration of criminal cases against the director of Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS) and five others based on a private complaint that they had submitted fake certificates to claim promotion in the institute.

The court, on Wednesday, ordered registration of criminal cases against B.C. Ravi Kumar, Director of HIMS; principal of KVG Medical College at Sullia, M.S. Dhananjaya, K.S. Gangadhar and Rache Gowda —all three former directors of HIMS; and Aruna, former director of the Medical Education Department.

The private complaint was filed by C.V. Mohan Raj of Hassan taluk, in 2014. The police, who investigated the case following the court’s order, filed a ‘B’ report stating that there was no evidence to support the allegation. However, the complainant challenged the ‘B’ report and he was allowed to make a sworn statement.

Dr. Ravi Kumar had allegedly submitted certificates of work experience stating that he had worked at KVG Medical College in Su…

Carmakers brace for demonetisation impact ( the hindu)

The auto industry is bracing for ‘short term headwinds’ due to ‘immediate disruption and uncertainty’ brought in by demonetisation, even as some carmakers posted double digit growth in domestic sales during November. Significantly, these figures reflect only the wholesale figures for the industry and not the retail sales reported by dealers.

While players such as Maruti, Toyota and Volkswagen saw robust growth, automakers such as Mahindra, Ford and Honda saw their sales drop during the month.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki said it sold more than 1.26 lakh units in the country last month, up 14.2 per cent from the same period last year.

Domestic sales for Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) rose 10.03 per cent to 11,309 units in November. N Raja, Director & Sr. VP(Sales & Marketing) at TKM said the firm had received more than 6,200 bookings for the new Fortuner, while Innova Crysta has clocked more than 50,000 units within six months of its launch.

‘Affected walk-ins’

“However, demonetisation…

Pakistan, China start direct rail and freight service

First cargo train departs from south-western Yunnan province’s capital Kunming for Karachi.

China and Pakistan on Thursday launched a direct rail and sea freight service with the first cargo train departing from China’s south-western Yunnan province.

The service was launched with the first cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, an inland province in south-west China departed for Karachi, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“China, Pakistan launch direct rail & sea freight service between Kunming and Karachi, cutting transport cost by over 50 per cent,” according to a tweet by the news agency.

Part of Maritime Silk Road

The service is a part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, of which $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) is a part.

The CPEC was launched in 2015 to link up north-western China with the Gwadar deep seaport in southern Pakistan.

The two countries already started the trade activities under CPEC in Oct…

High anxiety among Asian allies of U.S.

Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election will deepen Asian allies’ anxiety about Washington’s commitment to post-war security arrangements in the face of a risingChina and volatile North Korea, and could bolster calls from conservatives in Tokyo for a more robust defence policy.

Mr. Trump's “America First” rhetoric and calls for allies to pay more of the cost for U.S. troops in the region or face their possible withdrawal have worried officials in some Asian capitals. So has his opposition to a 12-nation pan-Pacific trade pact that was a linchpin of Washington's “pivot” to the region.

“We should expect dramatic changes in the security environment,” said South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk in parliament on Wednesday.

But he added: “In any case, there should not be any wavering in the Korea-U.S. military alliance, which has been the foundation of prosperity of this country.”

A Japanese government official, speaking before Mr. Trum…

U.S. backs India’s demonetisation drive

This is an important and necessary step to crack down on illegal actions: Mark Toner.

The United States on Wednesday described India’s demonetisation drive as an “important and necessary” step to curb illicit cash and actions. “…this was, we believe, an important and necessary step to crack down on illegal actions,” Mark Toner, State Department spokesperson, said in response to a question.

Mr. Toner said the demonetisation exercise “followed on a series of steps that the Modi government took over the past two years to reduce black market money.”

“I think it also included a four-month amnesty for tax evaders in India, which resulted in...the disclosure or declaration of billions of dollars in hidden assets. This was an action – I’m talking about the discontinuance of the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes – designed to target illicit cash proceeds from corruption and tax dodging,” he said.

‘Inconvenient but necessary’

Acknowledging that the move inconvenienced people, Mr. Toner said it was “…

Noted American experts divided over India’s demonetisation drive

Two prominent American economists have widely different views on India’s demonetisation drive.

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff is of the opinion that the move will help tackle corruption and tax evasion, while Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, believes it cannot make “much of a dent in the long-term problem of corruption or black money.”

Both of them shared their views with The Hindu through emails on Monday.

“There is little precedent in peacetime for India’s overnight demonetisation of its two largest banknotes. The basic idea of taking old notes out of circulation and introducing new ones is perfectly normal and sensible, but usually this is done gradually over a period of years [per the plan I propose for advanced economies in my recent book The Curse of Cash ]. India’s approach of forcing a rapid exchange may well succeed in penalising corrupt politicians, criminal and tax evaders far more than a gradual approach would.


Patriotism by diktat

triotism is a value that most people cherish without being required to demonstrate it in visible ways. Unfortunately, a notion has emerged in the country that it ought to be articulated frequently, demonstrated publicly anda enforced in such a manner that it will be an object lesson to the odd dissenter. Given this, it is hard to understand the rationale for the Supreme Court’s orderthat every cinema hall should play the national anthem before the exhibition of a film. India has given itself an anthem easily recognised as a lofty and moving rendering of the country’s oneness amidst diversity. It hardly requires judicial promotion. The singing of the national anthem on special occasions, especially in schools and colleges, is sufficient to help citizens identify the anthem with something larger than their daily concerns. There are clear rules on when the anthem should be played. Any misuse of the anthem or any wilful insult to it is legally prohibited, and those aggrieved by any such i…

Turning turtle

In September this year, the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department issued an order that banned all forms of fishing within a radius of 5 nautical miles (9.3 km) at 90 sites along the State’s coastline. It was passed to safeguard migrating olive ridley sea turtles. Extending from January to the end of April, the ban is applicable across eight coastal districts — from Chennai in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.

Is such an extreme measure necessary? Do such bans actually aid the conservation of olive ridleys?

Alarmist accounts

The ban can be traced back to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Madras High Court, interrogating the State government’s efforts on turtle conservation. It was filed by the judges themselves ( suo motu ) who were moved by a newspaper article (January 2015) on the nature of fisheries-induced mortality of sea turtles. But the fact is that when turtles drown in trawl nets, it is incidental and not intentional capture. Further, it is true that thousands of…

Confessions of a bird man

In creating a sanitary idea of citizenship, modern education has amputated our primordial affinity with the world around us

I cannot think of a morning without birds. I always need a piece of nature, before my coffee and the newspaper. If the first two are odes to culture, birds capture nature for me. Between walking and watching birds, my sense of the cosmos is renewed. There is an everydayness to birds which is fascinating. For me they do not merely greet the morning, they are the morning. They are the morning rituals of play and therapy where nature reminds you of the enchantment of life. There is an eccentricity about each of them that I found fascinating.

My bird of the month is the stork. For gluttons, they are graceful in fight and walk and I confess I find their watch therapeutic. The stork walking the grass, stacking worms has a touch of the comic. It seems to be perpetually rehearsing its steps, imitating itself to see if it can do better. If they realise the lawn is being …

Reeling out patriotism

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the national anthem is yet another instance of the movies being a soft target for tokenistic measures

Why is it always the movies? Take smoking. There are many ways to bring it down. You can stop the sale of single sticks, force people to buy a pack every time they feel like lighting up. You can raise the cost of packs. What we get instead is a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen every time the villain’s henchman is caught chomping on a bidi .

There is an artistic argument against this imposition. Woody Allen refused to allow Blue Jasmine to be screened in India with this disclaimer, saying that “when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene”. But brush aside artistry and just consider logic. If the reasoning is that films are widely seen and that this tiny print at the bottom is an educational measure against a harmful act, then why not a disclaimer every time a rape occurs on screen? Or every time a man stalks a woman, trying to get…

Writing a new Pakistan playbook

ne occasion in the latter half of the 20th century, the U.K. and the then Soviet Union had expelled as many as a hundred diplomats from their respective countries.

In the past too, Indian Prime Ministers had reached out to their Pakistani counterparts, hoping to find a solution to problems that eluded their diplomats. The Indian side — with the benefit of hindsight — at times had been over-generous (the Simla Agreement in 1972 between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, for example). Such initiatives were hailed when made, but reviled in the absence of any real progress. The Pakistani side has been more consistent, using such occasions to extract maximum benefits for itself, with little ‘give’ on their part. Yet, India has persisted on this path. Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were recent practitioners of this ‘art of the possible’.

The debris of successive setbacks: Lahore (1999) and Agra (2001); S…

Provocation at Nagrota

The death of seven soldiers in the terrorist attack on an Army base in Nagrota provides graphic evidence of the high cost being borne by the armed forces amidst escalating violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack comes just two months after militants stormed an Army camp in Uri, resulting in the death of 19 soldiers. Early on Tuesday morning, three terrorists entered the camp in Nagrota, near Jammu city and not very far from the headquarters of 16 Corps, one of the largest and most important corps of the Indian Army. It is important to investigate how heavily armed terrorists reached the 166 Medium Regiment premises in a securitised area, despite several road blocks on the road to Nagrota. Wearing police uniforms, the terrorists reportedly scaled a wall and stormed the base, where many military families were staying. Seven soldiers, including two Majors, were killed as they fought to prevent a hostage situation. At least four unarmed officers, the wives of two officers and two childr…

India to firm up defence ties with Bangladesh

In the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Bangladesh in the last 45 years, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived here on a two-day visit to strengthen defence cooperation between the two neighbours.

An Indian Air Force plane carrying Mr. Parrikar and an 11-member high-powered delegation reached the Bangladesh Air Force Base in Kurmitola on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Parrikar is visiting Bangladesh to bolster defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in December, say diplomatic sources. He would discuss with the government leaders to firm up a proposed framework of bilateral defence cooperation deal, likely to be signed during Ms. Hasina’s visit.

Mr. Parrikar and his entourage were greeted by Bangladesh Defence Forces’ Principal Staff Officer Lt-Gen. Mohammed Mahfuzur Rahman and top government officials.

To meet Hasina

An Inter-Service Public relation (ISPR) press release said Mr. Parikkar would meet Bangladesh President Abdul Ham…

SC makes national anthem mandatory in cinema halls

“Doors must be closed while it is played and all should stand up”

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening even as all those present have to “stand up to show respect.” The practice, according to the court, will “instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.”

Cinemas should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy directed. The playing of the anthem, the Bench said, is to be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their “love for the motherland.”

After lunch break, the Bench added one other condition in its order. That is, all doors in a cinema hall should remain closed to prevent any kind of disturbance when the anthem is played.

“It is time people feel this is my country. This is my motherland... You are an Indian first. In other countries, you respect their restrictions. In India, you do not want any restrictions?…

India’s missing girl children

is a cruel irony of a fast-growing India that there are fewer and fewer girls as a ratio of total births, as a result of complex factors that include parental preference. New data from the Civil Registration System of the Registrar General of India point to the hardening of the pattern, with a fall in sex ratio at birth from 898 girls to 1,000 boys in 2013, to 887 a year later. This depressing trend is consistent with evidence from the Census figures of 2001 and 2011. What is shocking is that the overall data mask the horror of particular districts and panchayats falling well below the national ratio, especially in the zero-to-six years assessment category. The scourge has, in some cases, prompted the Supreme Court to take note of the situation, and the National Human Rights Commission to ask for an explanation from State governments. In the understanding of the Centre, which it has conveyed to Parliament, girls stand a poor chance at survival because there is a “socio-cultural mind…